Are Your Employees Posing A Threat To HIPAA Compliance?
HIPAA is an abbreviation given to Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 which is a part of the United States legislature. The doubts around HIPAA compliance become more prominent by each passing year because healthcare is one industry where the threat from insiders has proven to be the greatest pertaining to the data procured. Since it is an insider threat, the very first concern that you should have is whether your employees are actually a hindrance in your HIPAA compliance.
Here are some steps to avoid this problem:
● Train your management and workforce in the correct manner
In order to address the threat, you need to educate your nursing home staff. The training guidelines are provided by HIPAA. It is a crucial element of both HIPAA security rule and even HIPAA privacy rule. See, if your employees know what the protection provides under the HIPAA compliance. Once they understand why this protection is necessary, then it would be much easier for them to grasp the intention of protecting the records. The misfortune of having access to sensitive information is that it can be shared accidentally. It is not imperative that the HIPAA breach involved intentional mistakes, but we cannot ignore the statistics when it comes to accidental mistakes of this kind. The main reason for this is the constant reckless mistakes made by individuals.
● Let your staff know about HIPAA violations
While training your staff for HIPAA compliance, it is mandatory to let them know about a list of to do’s and don’ts. This would involve a thorough understanding of different violations that may occur while complying with HIPAA. Another thing is to make team leaders accountable for any issue. When they see a colleague violate this compliance, a quick thorough follow up would ensure that it comes in the habit and not much of an issue persists after it. It is also quite important that at least one out of every three team members understands the intricacies of the prescribed guidelines. This will help in keeping HIPAA compliance seamless.
● Make the compliance as automated as possible
When manual management is done, mistakes are bound to happen. One of the simplest examples of automating this procedure includes download of data on devices that have been encrypted. As soon as somebody tries to download the necessary information on a device that is not encrypted- it will fail. Hence, we strongly recommend going for HIPAA compliance which reduces the risk of human error and can be managed online to its highest potential.
● Perform regular risk assessments
We approach HIPAA compliance in a very straight forward manner. For example, when you get a medical ailment- then you go for regular follow-up until your health is set in place. Similarly, this concept also needs some regular correction of loopholes until it comes in full-fledged practice. Much like any vast concept, even HIPAA requires a certain duration for getting completely set. Hence we strongly recommend that an auditor or a technical team is dedicated towards HIPAA compliance. It would also help in keeping a check on which employees are making maximum breaches or what are the steps where understanding from the employee side is lacking. It is definitely a crucial step towards ensuring that your employees do not pose a threat to HIPAA compliance.
● Prevent human mistakes as far as possible
All of the aforementioned pointers boil down to one very simple thing- which is how human mistakes can be prevented properly. So for instance, if your staff is clear about the compulsion of reporting the mistakes, then lesser data breaches will occur. In most healthcare entities, it is human error that is behind major personal data breach. We have noticed that over the years, regular risk assessments and follow-ups help the most in avoiding such divulgence of sensitive information. Hence, when things get automated with proper compliance in place, these data breaches become a thing of the past.
Our healthcare industry truly needs a proper set of guidelines to keep sensitive data safe. It reduces the risk of this information being used again the concerned individual’s interest. Keeping these simple aforementioned steps in mind, HIPAA compliance does not have to be as much of a threat as people assume it to be. You can simply practice these and make the most of these guidelines.